The former teen CrossFit Games contender will compete at Wodapalooza.
Gabriela Migala started her young journey into CrossFit by training to improve as a tennis player. Little did she know that the training she was doing was her ultimate destiny to athletic success. The 20-year-old Polish athlete eventually competed in the teenage division at the CrossFit Games in 2016. She finished third and realized she had the potential to be among the elite of the sport.
Her sights are currently set on qualifying for the CrossFit Games as an adult in 2019. She previously competed at Dubai and will now move on to Miami to be a part of Wodapalooza. Even with less than a month before her trip to Florida, she shared some insight into her story and her preparation in this interview.
Remember you can catch all of Wodapalooza right here on FloElite.
Height: 170 cm (5-foot-6)
Weight: 70 kg (154 pounds)
City: Krakow, Poland
FloElite: You finished third in the world in the teen division back in 2016. What was it like to experience that kind of success so early?
Migala: I played tennis before CrossFit and I’ve never won any big competition. So standing on the podium in the tennis stadium in Carlson was something special for me. I realized that I’m pretty good at this CrossFit thing and I knew that I want to keep training and be the best someday.
What got you into CrossFit training and competition?
I wanted to improve my tennis game and get stronger so I decided to start training at the gym. Actually at that time a new CrossFit box was opened. I checked on the internet what CrossFit is. After watching some videos on YouTube I thought: OK, it looks so hard I need to try this... I quickly switched from tennis to only CrossFit training. After some time I really missed competing so I signed up to the Open in 2016 and I managed to qualify for the CFG in a teen category. That’s how it all began.
Are there any athletes you looked up to when you started training?
Of course there are some athletes I looked up to when I started CrossFit. One of them is, for example, Lauren Fisher, because back then she was one of the youngest athletes on a field and she was doing well. Now I still admire those athletes but I don’t look up to them anymore; I want to be better than them and I want to win against them.
How are you able to manage training and preparing for competitions and have a balanced life?
Maintain a balanced life while training and preparing for competition is super hard, especially when you are 20 years old and all people in your age are going out while you’re sitting in a gym on Friday night and putting in work. I started athlete life really early. I was 8 when I started tennis, so I was used to life and discipline like that. I don’t want to say that to be an elite athlete you can’t have a balanced life, but if you want to be the best you have to give up a lot of fun things. I chose this life and I love it.
I saw you competed in Dubai last weekend. If so, how was that experience for you?
It was a great experience. I’m so thankful that I could be a part of the very first CrossFit Games-sanctioned event and to compete against some pretty great athletes. Four days of competition in a few different places included ocean swim, tennis stadium, and the desert were really hard. How often do you get an opportunity to race in the desert — how cool is that? Overall I’m happy with how I performed. I’ve spent a lot of time working on my weaknesses and ending up in the top 10 shows that all hard work is definitely paying off. However, I’m not satisfied with my overall finish so the work continues.
You're preparing for Wodapalooza now which takes place in January. How is your training going at this point?
I took a few easy recovery days after DCC. But now I’m back to training in full swing. I’m feeling great and I already can’t wait to compete again.
For those of us that don't know, what's it like traveling the world and competing in these events?
It’s amazing. I love it. At each event I got an opportunity to meet so many amazing people and to see a bit of the world. It’s pretty cool.
Do you like the new qualifying process for the CrossFit Games? What was the reaction to the announcement like in your part of the world?
I’m excited for the new qualifying system: lots of competition and a lot of opportunities to check yourself during comps. When they announced this I was a bit disappointed. After finishing sixth at Europe regionals, one spot away from qualifying for the Games, I made a promise to myself that next year I will spend on that European podium . . . and it’s not gonna happen now. People in Poland seem to be happy about the new format because they would finally see some Polish athletes in the individual category on the Games. Anyway I can’t wait to see this new format will look like.
Many champion athletes have a team behind the scenes or an inner circle. Who do you feel are those people for you?
It’s a lot of people. All my CrossFit family in 72d. My coach Michał Grzesiewicz who is here in Poland with me, swim coach, my physio team, and of course my parents who support me from the beginning.
Do you know what your plans are after WZA?
After WZA I’m getting ready for the Open. Also I’m planning to compete in some sanctioned event in Europe. I was thinking about the French Throwdown.
Remember to catch all the action right here on FloElite.
Roger Lockridge is from Lewisburg, WV. His work has been featured on numerous platforms and magazines in the fitness industry over the last 10 years. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @rocklockridge.